Did you know the Pine Ridge Reservation is the most impoverished community in the United States? To alleviate this poverty we craft star quilts and empower local leaders, to build an economy on the reservation and share Lakota traditions with the world. The entire process is designed to empower Lakota people to engage in business, creating dignity, not dependence.

Pine Ridge reservation is the poorest place in the United States. For the Lakota, poverty can be self-sustaining with few resources and governmental systems that create dependance without hope of self empowerment. Global Peace Train, a non profit organization, has brought the resources and business tools needed so Lakota people can uplift themselves from poverty and break free from the systems that have trapped them for decades.

A dignified life free from the traps of poverty is something we long for. Our goal is to create a sustainable e-commerce business that will allow the Lakota and their grandchildren to make a living while sharing their sacred culture with the greater community.

The Lakota tribe is the largest of the Sioux nation. They have a long history of powerful warriors and medicine men, and artistic and creative women. To experience yourself as Lakota is to see a strong sense of self-determination to free your community from poverty and suffering.

"Our grandmothers passed the traditional star quilting techniques down to us and now we are carrying on their teachings. It is up to us to carry on the tradition and share them with the world before the art is lost. These start quilts were originally made from animal hide but when the reservations were formed and free-range hunting was restricted, our ancestors began making the quilts with fabric and sewing them by hand. They symbolize the morning star and the threads are understood to be threads that run through all of us, connecting us fully with all life and well being. It is through these quilts we can honor our ancestors and remember we are always connected to our people and the earth."

The tradition holds that when a baby is born, someone undergoes a ceremony (graduation, marriage, spiritual undertakings), or someone dies, a star quilt is made by the women of our tribe, sometimes in as little as four hours. The quilts are given to honor someone in the significant moments of life. We have hand picked the best quilters and artists on the reservation to handcraft these quilts for the greater community, and to train a new generation of quilters to make these beautiful pieces of art.

The Tribal Traditions of the Lakota Sioux Project was created in collaboration between the Global Peace Train and the Lakota people to help uplift families from poverty and share Lakota wisdom that is in danger of dying out with the greater non-native world. Through the generous donations of our sponsors and the hard work of Lakota women on Pine Ridge, we can now provide these sacred quilts to people worldwide.

"It is our intention to turn to the greater community now to help us empower ourselves and lift our people from poverty while preserving our traditions that are in danger of disappearing."

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